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Francesco BOTTIGLIERO (b.1974)
The Spanish Girl (2014) [20:52]
Suite del Regreso (2014) [14:46]
Canción (2013) [18:09]
Ewa Majcherczyk (soprano: suite)
Daniela Cammarano (violin)
Adam Krzeszowiec (cello)
Francesco Bottigliero (piano)
rec. 2015, Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music Concert Hall
No texts or translations
DUX 1252 [51:45]

The Italian composer Francesco Bottigliero has wide-ranging musical interests and isn’t hide-bound. The three selected works - two piano trios and a song cycle – attest to this spirit of openness and to his interest in ripe sonorities and in colour.

The Spanish Girl takes its name from a painting by Alexei von Jawlensky, a Russian member of the artistic group Der Blaue Reiter. Inspired by the painting Bottigliero has sought to enshrine its image, as it were, in music. The three movements, a Rhapsody, an Intermezzo and a finale called The Girl and the Sea are full of rich saturation, in rhythms both rhapsodic and indolent, and in Spanish evocations, and cast in a very immediately straightforward musical lexicon. The songful, folk-tinged Intermezzo gently swims into a siesta of quietude, infused by music both aromatic and Iberian. The finale, meanwhile, offers wavelike motion for the piano trio and a gauzy terpsichorean vitality, reflecting something of the allusive complications of the painting’s narrative. Fortunately the composer gives us a précis of what the painting means to him in his booklet notes.

Regrettably, though I appreciate they’re easily available elsewhere (that’s very much not the point when it comes to stand-alone discs in my view, however), Dux prints neither Lorca’s poems nor translations in Suite del Regresso, a cycle of four poems for soprano and piano trio. Strong and declamatory there are uneasy, mordant elements at work, rightly, in this cycle, where the melancholy tread of the two strings and piano offers a wan commentary. The siren calls of the third setting – marine seductiveness – lead on to the jaunty march of the finale (Ráfaga) in a musical language that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in some of Ravel’s settings.

Canción takes Lorca as its inspiration once again, the three instruments assuming an engaging and dynamic vocalised drama, a whirl of protest or a deft elliptical expression. If Lorca is again one of the engines of the composer’s inspiration it’s one seen through the lens of Ravel. The music is wholly tonal, immediately attractive, often timbrally seductive and full of dance patterns and vigorous rhythms in the best Franco-Iberian style.

The excellent and vivid performances of the trio are matched by soprano Ewa Majcherczyk in the well-balanced recording of all three pieces. This is music of engaging directness, Ravelian refractions in the Iberian sun.

Jonathan Woolf



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